Post Mon Sep 28, 2009 9:56 pm

Rules Concerning the Contents of Traveler's Guide Entries

Rules Concerning the Contents of Traveler's Guide Entries

In light of recent questions that have been raised, the Whills realized that we needed to spell out once more what the rules are concerning the contents of Traveler's Guide entries and the rule changes that they may contain. These rules were set out once before, but due to an unfortunate clerical error, they disappeared several months ago.

The Traveler's Guide now includes a system similar to the "traffic light" option for players. Rather than leave the Universe to write storylines in a venue like the Journal of the Whills, we would rather players use what is at their disposal to create a storyline-based forum on their own, within the Universe.

Players who wish to focus on storylines and not competitive play are welcome to write this in their Guide entry. And vice-versa: if you wish to host battles or duels or what have you, it is all there for you. So it is like the traffic light system; only on a planetary scale rather than a personal level.

Players who do not follow the preferences/rules set out in the Traveler's Guide for the planet may be asked by the players of the planet to leave. Should the offending party remain belligerent and stay on the planet, the Whills can and will become directly involved, at the request of the party involved.

It is important that you, the JvS community, understand that we have formulated this plan based on many requests from a wide section of the players/writers who use this site. The system we have devised is designed to ultimately give more control over to the players regarding certain aspects of the site. Our intent is to spark creativity and still give players the optimal environment for their styles, namely by letting them create it for themselves.

You should, at this point, be asking three questions. The first should be, "How much control does a planet's Guide entry have?" The second is, "How do we prevent abuse?" The third is, "How do I know what constitutes a legitimate rule change?"

How much control does a planet's Guide entry have?

We have decided to reward those planets which have proven themselves to be suitable places for RP. The system works in correlation to the badge color of a planet. If you are unfamiliar, badges may be changed in color by requesting a scan of the planet in the Traveler's guide forum at the top of the page. The color reflects the quality of play found on the planet.

  • Durasteel planets: Have not opted into the Guide, and therefore do not have Guide entries.

  • Bronzium planets: Are "low quality" RP planets. Their Guide entries may only list preferences and may not be used as "rules". This is not to say that these planets do not obtain some rights as independent identities and your respect for their preferences will still be very much appreciated. However, the ability to govern storyline's and role player entries is minimized to polite suggestions.

  • Silver planets: Are "good quality" RP planets. Their Guide entries may manage OOC actions, not IC. An example would be, "Send an OOC PM to the planet controllers, x, y, and z, at least 24 hours before initiating an invasion or any sort of aggressive maneuver." A force that invaded, then, without prior PM discussion, would be deemed illegitimate, at the discretion of the planetary controllers. Note that this does not give consent to use OOC knowledge IC, as this is GMing.

  • Gold planets: Are "great quality" RP planets. Their Guide entries may manage IC actions as well as OOC. An example would be, "Request permission to land if you are a non-aggressive force". Also, Gold planet Guide entries may create subset systems of the Universe's rules. For instance, a Gold planet's controllers may wish to limit or expand fleets beyond what the Natural Laws' regulations may be. They may also set alternative conditions for the transfer of the planet beyond their control.

  • Platinum planets: Are "Holy Grail quality" RP planets. Players who control the planet, in addition the above benefits, will be granted the ability to create threads as though the entire planet were a headquarters. That means that features of the terrain was well as buildings and cities are theirs to define.

How do we prevent abuse?

So, by now you've probably already thought up a good scheme to hoard a planet for yourself. It's natural; We've all thought up plenty of schemes in our time. So how do we deal with a player who posts a TG entry, with the rule, "Players may never take this planet from me," or something a little more subtle---"Players must agree OOC to not try to take the planet before landing diplomatically. No fleets are allowed, merely a single starfighter each. Planet can only be taken in space combat. Planet has shields and ground-emplaced turbolasers."---if that can be called subtle. A no-win situation, right?

Wrong. This is where the Player's Guild comes in. They will be given direct control of the Traveler's Guide forum. Councilors will be allowed to approve Traveler's Guide posts, and to change the poster to the Traveler's Guide. They will also be allowed to edit posts in that forum. We (the Whills) will retain the right to move the Traveler's Guide entries to the appropriate forum, and to change badge colors.

So, there are three lines of defense against abuse:

  1. Only players that have proven themselves by earning a gold ranking for their planet have the authority to change something significant, rulewise, about their planet.
  2. The Whills will approve or deny TG posts, meaning that we should catch any potential problems before they even happen. We will not reject any entry which has been proposed, provided that it maintains a basic common sense standard for fair role play.
  3. Any problematic Guide entry that might slip through will no doubt be caught by other players. In that regard, it is your responsibility as a user of this site to bring any abuse to the attention of some one who can deal with it. If, throughout this process, someone is able to slip something through that subsequently ends up being abused, do not let it slide as chances are you're not the only one who has noticed it, and if everyone keeps silent for fear of being thought of as an alarmist then everyone suffers when you could all be having fun. Let either a Whill or a Guild Councillor know about the problem.

How do I know what constitutes a legitimate rule change?

First, ask yourself, if I were a newcomer to this planet, how would I react to the rules set out by this planet? Would I find the atmosphere welcoming, or would I be intimidated? Second, if you were a potential attacker planning an invasion of the planet, would you find the rules to be fair and balanced for both attackers and defenders? Your entry should be constructed in such a way that it promotes RP on your planet, not deters it. Even if you are a Gold or Platinum rated planet, you must maintain a basis of fairness for all players.

The Whills will not approve a Guide entry that gives an unfair advantage to any group of players. You are welcome to make any balanced changes you see fit, based on the rules outlined above, and your badge color. However, you may not, for example, add extra defense forces for your planet without making an equivalent change to the the forces which an attacking force is allowed to use.

Above all, the point of this is to give you, the players, more freedom and ability to exercise your right to have fun on this site. So even with our precautions, there are ways where you could use the system to give yourself an advantage---but we're asking you not do that, for all that is good and sacred in the gaming world. Remember that it's a game, take it easy and have fun with everyone, not just yourself.